JERUSALEM (AP) - Analysts say it's the first time the leadership of al-Qaida has been directly involved in plotting an attack inside Israel.
The country's intelligence agency says it foiled what it called an "advanced" plan by al-Qaida to carry out a suicide bombing against the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and to bomb other targets. It says three Palestinians are in custody.
The intelligence agency says the Palestinians had planned on attacking a Jerusalem conference center with firearms, and then killing rescue workers with a truck bomb. It says al-Qaida was planning to send foreign militants to attack the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on the same day, using explosives supplied by the Palestinians.
Officials say the Palestinian men had been recruited by an operative based in the Gaza Strip who worked for al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri.
A former head of an Israeli military intelligence unit that tracks al-Qaida says it was the first time al-Zawahri was directly involved in a plot inside Israel. He says it would have been seen as a "great achievement" for al-Qaida.
The intelligence agency says the plot also involved five men whose identity and nationality were not disclosed. They were supposed to fly into Israel with fake Russian passports to attack the American embassy.